Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Friday, March 31, 2017

What do you mean "we" orange man?

by digby

My Salon column this morning:

So we come to the end of yet another exciting week of foreign intrigue, Twitter tantrums, scary testimony, horrible policy rollouts and GOP catfighting — the new normal.

Thursday’s biggest news was all about the unfolding Russian investigation scandals. First The New York Times reported that two White House officials had leaked the information to House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, which he claimed showed Trump transition team figures had been caught in incidental intercepts. The Times identified the two leakers: One of them is a member of the White House counsel’s office and the other is a 30-year-old Michael Flynn protégé and National Security Council member.

That second guy’s name is Ezra Cohen-Watnick and until now he was best known for the fact that H.R. McMaster, Flynn’s successor as national security adviser, wanted to fire him because the CIA had called Cohen-Watnick a threat. McMaster was overruled by President Donald Trump himself. If this whole Nunes song and dance was not part of a cover-up, the White House has gone to great lengths to make it look like one.

Meanwhile, up on Capitol Hill, a former FBI agent and cybersecurity expert by the name of Clint Watts was blowing everyone’s mind with his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he said the Russians meddled in the GOP primary, targeting Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Watts claimed that Trump and various associates helped the effort by parroting Russian propaganda during the campaign.

He uttered a line that may very well end up being remembered the same way that John Dean’s famous phrase about “a cancer on the presidency” is remembered. Watts told the committee to “follow the trail of dead Russians,” referring to the recent spate of prominent Russians who have died under mysterious circumstances, if it wants to find clues about the Russian money-laundering operation that Watts suspects is at the center of all this.

Then at the end of the day, The Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Flynn, the former White House national security adviser, had requested immunity for possible testimony before the intelligence committees in the House and Senate — which neither panel has agreed to provide. There’s a good reason why they wouldn’t. Back when a medal-bedecked Col. Oliver North testified in the Iran-contra scandal, he was granted immunity. He put on quite a performance that let former President Ronald Reagan off the hook, and North’s congressional immunity ended up being the means by which he beat a criminal rap.

Those weren’t the only big Trump stories by any means. He apparently woke up on the wrong side of the bed again and started the day off with this provocative tweet:

To which Republicans replied, “What do you mean ‘we,’ orange man?”

Later on Trump got personal and called out the leadership of the House Freedom Caucus:

A major Tea Party leader, Mark Meckler, had this to say in response, according to The Hill:

The man who promised to “Drain the Swamp” now appears to be the “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” He is now on the side of the swamp monsters.
The head swamp monster would no doubt be House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is loathed by many members of the Republican base, and yet now Donald Trump has inexplicably allied himself to him, for no good reason other than personal pique at the Freedom Caucus. Even some of Trump’s most loyal supporters are starting to get concerned:

On “MTP Daily,” Michael Needham of Heritage Action called the health care bill a disaster, saying, “This is a great opportunity to take a pause and get the policy right and that is what the House Freedom Caucus is doing. Talk about grown-ups, they’re the one who are saying, ‘We want to get the policy right, we’re willing to negotiate,’ and it’s the moderates who say they literally won’t pick up the phone if they call.”

First of all, can we dispense with the idea that any Republican who isn’t a member of the Freedom Caucus is a “moderate”? I’m not sure any House Republicans can be called moderate, but if there are some they represent a very small faction. They’re conservatives. The Freedom Caucus is extremist or, if you want to be polite about it, ultraconservative. The rest are conservatives.

As for these conservatives who refuse to pick up the phone, Needham is right about that. Rep. Chris Collins, a spokesman for the Tuesday Group — a mainstream conservative bloc in the House — told reporters:

We have never negotiated with the Freedom Caucus. There was never a meeting scheduled with the Freedom Caucus. We will never meet with the Freedom Caucus, because it’s not appropriate for a group of ad hoc members.

Members of the Freedom Caucus are far from being “grown-ups,” but they were not the only members of Congress balking at Ryan’s monstrosity of a health care bill. A lot of mainstream conservatives refused to vote for it, too, with the prospects for support worsening as vaunted negotiator Trump stumbled up to the bargaining table and clumsily tried to buy off the Freedom Caucus without realizing he was playing a zero-sum game. (Just ask former House Speaker John Boehner how easy it is.)

It’s pretty clear that Trump learned nothing from his experience last week. He still doesn’t understand the character of the GOP hard-right faction in Congress or the people who support them. He doesn’t realize that with a 35 percent approval rating, his threats, subtle or overt, are ineffective. That’s particularly true when the group he’s threatening is supported by the Koch brothers, two of the 10 richest men in the world. He doesn’t recognize that any major bill that is popular with only 17 percent of the country and will directly affect tens of millions of people is a losing proposition.

In other words, Trump is likely to repeat the same mistakes all over again, starting with tax reform — which many experts predict will be every bit as difficult as the health care measure. But then, Trump has never admitted to making a mistake in his life. He couldn’t change now if he wanted to.